I work at a cell phone store... barely studied... 100% short days before L1 exam as S&P 500 hit all time highs... "passed"

God is good.

I passed level 1 on my first attempt.

The night before exam results I was feeling down because I was convinced I didn’t pass. The next morning when I checked my phone I saw that I “passed”. I still wasn’t fully convinced. I have read news articles of people mistakenly getting acceptance letters into schools. “Maybe it was a mistake?” “Maybe I will get a follow-up e-mail saying I was sent the incorrect result.”

I think it’s fair to say that I’m an idiot. I also work at a cell phone store. I also procrastinate a lot. I didn’t really study much during my college years and didn’t put in many hours to study for the CFA exam. I was able to intern for a bulge bracket during college. After I graduated college I had zero confidence and didn’t even try to apply for “good” jobs because I consider myself a realist. There are way too many people with 4.0s and even above average is garbage when it comes to the finance industry.

It was difficult for me to study for long periods of time. I get distracted and bored easily. I was able to take a vacation a couple weeks before the exam and I told myself I would study during that time. Instead, I went to Asia and wasted a lot of time. Jetlag didn’t help either. I told myself I would study hardcore days before the exam. I got some studying in, but I lost a lot of money going 100% short as the S&P 500 was hitting all time highs and volatility hit multi-year lows. The technicals were screaming buy buy buy, but I am not a big fan of technicals. I had put options on the SPY and call options on the VIX. I was losing large (relative) amounts of money and it was very difficult to concentrate on studying. I was constantly stressed and I had trouble sleeping, including the night before the exam.

I don’t know if I have any right to give advice on passing the level 1 exam because I didn’t put a lot of work into it. The things I just mentioned are things every candidate should avoid. Here are things that I did that may have helped me.

  1. I took practice exams days before the exam. Review EVERY question you got incorrect and write notes on a word document on the material that relates to the question you got incorrect. These are your weak points and by the time you have taken a few practice exams you should have a couple pages of notes on material you probably need to focus on the most.

  2. Avoid wasting too much time on this forum and stop asking stupid questions on here that won’t help you learn the material. I have barely posted on this forum because the i feel like it’s more productive to try to learn the material yourself and not rely on others to give you the answer. There are some really cool and helpful people on here. The guy with the horse avatar seems very nice and genuinely tries to help candidates. This other guy with the yoda avatar talks a lot of crap and thinks very highly of himself. These are my main observations from reading this forum. Also, there is a lot of negativity on this forum. Don’t listen to these people. Focus on the material. That’s it.

  3. Do everything you can to take some time off before the exam (Everyone says this).

  4. Don’t do what I did and put yourself in high stress situations days before the exam.

  5. I strongly suggest you DO NOT procrastinate. I may have procrastinated, but that only means I need to study even harder for level 2 and I’m probably going to need to review some level 1 material again. Again, I consider myself a realist and there is NO WAY I will be able to pass level 2 with the amount of studying I put into level 1. As many of you may know bad habits are very hard to change. I haven’t started studying for level 2 yet, but when I do I’m going to have to get used to long study sessions and be better organized.

There is no way I could have passed this by myself. God is on my side. Thank you all for reading my story and God Bless.


congrats. and if anything, it was you who passed. god probably didn’t do too much there

I think I agree with you on this one.

And may the Gods be ever in your favor.

The yoda troll strikes once again!

I’m sorry that God screwed over your going short play, though.

Edit: Of course, the great BSD in the sky works in mysterious ways.


Among other questions I had…

What was your prior educational background and relevant experience? Just the bulge bracket internship?

You say barely studied but what was your general study strategy and how many hours would you say you put in?

I graduated with a degree in economics from a large university and have taken a couple finance courses online. The internship is pretty much my only relevant experience. Does losing money count as relevant experience?

I’m not sure exactly how much studied… I would say it was less than 100 hours. I didn’t really have a strategy and had trouble doing study sessions longer than an hour. I procrastinated hard, which forced me into panic mode a couple weeks before the exam. I would not suggest doing what I did.

There a few things I should have done to better prepare. I only answered a few of the EOC questions from the curriculum. I will make sure for level 2 that I do ALL of them. I waited until the end to start doing practice questions. I purchased the qbank and practice tests from schweser, but did not finish all the qbank questions and practice tests. Keep doing practice questions until you are confident that you understand the material.

My poor study habits left me with very little time. In order to efficiently utilize my time I took notes on questions I got incorrect from practice questions. The neat thing about practice questions is that they don’t just give you the correct answer… they explain why a specific answer is correct. This helps if your logic is flawed or you have don’t grasp certain concepts. This helped me find my weaknesses and helps you better utilize your time by focusing on what you need the most help on.

I’m sorry if this doesn’t help you much. When it comes to study strategies, I’m probably not the best person to ask. Feel free to PM me at any time. Good luck and God Bless.